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Sunday, February 17, 2019

088 - Thucydides and Periclean Politics



In this episode, we discuss the life, influences, drawbacks, and positives of the “Father of Scientific History”, Thucydides; and the domestic political scene in Athens in the late 440s and early 430s BC, including the ostracism of Thucydides (not the historian) and the series of personal and judicial attacks on Pericles and his three closest associates (Phidias, Aspasia, and Anaxagoras)


Sunday, February 3, 2019

087 - Rhetoric and the Sophists



In this episode, we describe the development of rhetoric in the ancient Greek world as an art that could be studied and employed in the law courts and for political purposes, and its importance especially in Classical Athens; the roles and various opinions of the Sophists, who were lecturers that traveled from city to city, teaching not only rhetoric but also all of the other important subjects that were not being covered by an Athenians’ traditional education; and the lives, influences, writings, and various theories put forth by the earliest Rhetoricians and Sophists, including synopses on several of Plato's dialogues (Protagoras, Gorgias, Hippias Major and Hippias Minor)


Rhetoricians and Sophists Discussed:
Korax and Tisias of Syracuse (fl. mid-5th century BC)

Protagoras of Abdera (ca. 490-420 BC)
Gorgias of Leontini (ca. 485-375 BC)
Antiphon of Rhamnous (ca. 480-411 BC)
Hippias of Elis (ca. 460-400 BC)
Prodicus of Keos (ca. 465-390 BC)
Thrasymachus of Chalcedon (ca. 459-400 BC)


Primary Sources Discussed:

Greek words: rhetorike (rhetoric), rhetor (orator), logon techne (skill with arguments), sophia (wisdom), Sophistes (experts, literally “those who have become wise”), physiologoi (natural philosophers), physis (nature), nomos (law or custom), techne (art or skill), arete (excellence or virtue), macrologia (many words), paradoxologia (the idea of paradoxical thought and expression), schemata (figures of speech), isokolon (balanced clauses), antithesis (the joining of contrasting ideas), parison (the structure of successive clauses), homoeoteleuton (the repetition of word endings), epitaphios (funeral oration), topos (plausible argument), logos (logical), ethos (ethical), pathos (emotional), deiknunai (to show), epideiktikos ("showoff" speech), enkomion (praise), dunamis (power), logographoi (speech writers), poly (many or much), mathes (having learned), polymathes (polymath, literally "someone who has learned a lot"), kalon (beauty or noble)


Sunday, January 20, 2019

**Special Guest Episode on Drinking and 'Sportsing' w/Amy Pistone**

This is the third episode in a series where I converse with Classicists about either books or articles that they have published, their current research interests, or just unique classes and topics that they are teaching and exploring further. 

In today's special guest episode, I am joined by Dr. Amy Pistone, Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at Notre Dame University in South Bend, INHer dissertation, titled "When the Gods Speak: Oracular Communication and Concepts of Language in Sophocles", explores the misunderstanding of oracular or prophetic speech in Sophoclean tragedy and situates his plays within the intellectual context of late-5th century BC AthensHer primary research areas include Greek tragedy in general, Greek and Roman drinking culture, early Greek philosophy and scientific thought, women in the ancient world and feminist theory, reception and re-performance of ancient theater, and pedagogy. 

In particular, Dr. Pistone is interested in the role that drinking (both proper and improper) plays in the ancient Greek world and uses this to reflect on the modern world. She has presented several papers (including "The DYskoleteron Δυσκολώτερον Σκόλιον: A New Model of the Skolion Game in Antiquity" and “Take a Joke, Take a Drink: Ancient Greek Drinking Culture”) and has taught several classes to that effect (including "Drinking (and) Culture in the Ancient World" and "Intoxicating Poetry")She also has an interest in ancient athletics, and when she is not molding the minds of future classicists, she referees collegiate football and basketball games. So due to the unique confluence of these two interests, I invited Dr. Pistone on to talk about ancient Greek drinking culture with a side of sports, aka how college students can relate to the ancient Greeks.



Here are some of the images mentioned in the episode:

An image of “kottabos with a pole” getting set up



A sassy kottabos player


What might be a specialized kottabos cup


And some great vases with women having parties!



One of Dr. Pistone's favorite silly vases!




Recommended Bibliography

Goldman, Max L."Associating the Aulêtris: Flute Girls and Prostitutes in the Classical Greek Symposium." Helios, vol. 42 no. 1, 2015, pp. 29-60.

Slater, W.J. "Symposium at Sea". Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 80 (1976), pp. 161-170.

Topper, Kathryn. "The Imagery of the Athenian Symposium". Cambridge University Press (2012).

  • Vickers, Michael. "A Kottabos cup in Oxford". American Journal of Archaeology 78 (1974).